One evening in late July I went out to lock the garage and discovered a bat 'legging' it across the driveway. They can move remarkably rapidly on the ground by swinging their wings forward and using the hooked thumbs as pivot points, waddling behind with their hind feet. Nevertheless, it appeared to be injured, with the left wing being held awkwardly.
I rushed inside to get the bat rescue gear (gloves and a toilet roll), my camera, and called Simon, so he could come and see the bat. I could only find a huge leather work glove, which meant that when I picked up the bat by gently encouraging it on to the glove, it kept wanting to snuggle down under the capacious wrist band. You are not supposed to touch bats when you rescue them, so this wasn't ideal. Eventually I managed to get it to settle in a crevice in the stones of our granary, but several times it determinedly climbed down and legged it across the grass. I was worried about one of the many neighbourhood cats spotting it. As small mammal specialists they would make very short work of an injured and grounded bat.
I was interested to note that whenever it encountered a spiderweb that it got entangled in it stopped and carefully removed all the strands. It was clearly small enough to be seriously impeded by the sticky filaments. It reminded me that when I worked for the National Trust we always made sure that house staff knew that the triangular sticky insect monitoring traps were not to be used anywhere that a bat might be tempted down to eat the trapped insects. We had heard of a few cases where the bat itself got trapped on the sticky surface of the cardboard.
We can only speculate that it had been roosting for the day under the wooden palisade gable of our garage. The palings are in poor condition and are now rather loose. They flap a bit in the wind and maybe it got knocked from his perch. Unlike the previous bat we had to rescue, who was outraged at us accidentally knocking it to the ground when we removed a piece of rotten lime mortar, this little chap was entirely passive and unaggressive. It just looked around and sniffed the air a bit, but did not appear distressed by being handled or attempt to bite.
Very sadly, in the morning, I found a little brown furry body in the driveway. I took the opportunity to measure it and confirm the identity. It was a pipistrelle, only 3.5cm from nose to rump, with a 2.5cm tail. This is only just within the size range for an adult pipistrelle, so I assume it was one of this year's youngsters. Tim pointed out to me that bats dehydrate very quickly and that it is a good idea to offer them a drink by placing a straw holding water in front of them (a thumb over the end will hold the water in the straw and allow the bat to lap water from the other end). I wish I'd thought to do that now.
The little body is now in a tomato pot, providing fertilizer and decomposing to bones so I can examine the teeth later and determine which species of pipistrelle it is.